Kudos to those companies that incorporate environmental values into all levels of business, from the vision of their products through their methods of production. These innovative entrepreneurs are leading the way to a sustainable future…
Fetzer Vineyards. Fetzer aims to completely cut waste from its wine-making process by 2009, and with an organic Bonterra already, use only organically grown grapes a year later. Its also the first wine producer to buy 100 percent renewable energy.
Ten Thousand Villages. A nonprofit corporation, Ten Thousand Villages pays fair wages to Third World artisans, vastly improving quality of life, and then successfully brings these handicrafts to North American consumers through its 180 retail stores.
Equal Exchange. This company mainstreams the concept of fair trade by bringing certified organic, sustainably grown coffee and teas direct to American breakfast tables. It pays premiums up-front to farmer cooperatives, while growing to a $6 million enterprise itself.
New Organics. This ubiquitous brand is in just about every grocery aisle. Storming mainstream shelves, New Organics introduced more than 140 food products—from condiments to cereals—mostly in the last year alone.
Odwalla. This all-natural juice company is leading in many ways: It uses no preservatives, buys from farmers transitioning to organic, turns leftover pulp into animal feed, is converting its delivery trucks to natural gas, and is researching biodegradable bottles.
Green Mountain Energy. Already servicing Pennsylvania and California, Green Mountain is poised to light homes across the nation with energy from renewable sources. As deregulation spreads, it will be bringing more wind, solar and geothermal to the grid.
Ballard Power Systems. Canada-based Ballard is a pioneer in fuel cell technology. Producing electricity from hydrogen, its cells are twice as efficient as traditional internal-combustion engines and, when fueled by direct hydrogen gas, totally non-polluting. Besides making automotive history, Ballard cells may soon power everything from homes to laptop computers.
Food from the Hood. Spreading from its Los Angeles roots to New York state, student-owners learn how to run a socially responsible business while earning money for school. The all-natural salad dressings and applesauces are now sold in over 2,000 stores.
Living Tree Paper Company. This company uses flax straw, hemp and post-consumer waste to make its printing and writing papers. It bypasses the forest altogether to reenvision a traditionally resource-based industry.